The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved the new electricity tariff which would be effective from 12th April 2013.
As per the new tariff, the existing Incremental Block Tariff structure has been changed to a Volume-Differentiated Tariff structure for Domestic (D-1) and Religious (R-1) and General -1 (GP-1) customer categories. When the monthly (30 day) consumption of any consumer belonging to the above categories falls within a certain range (block), the relevant tariff for that range will be applicable for the entire monthly consumption.
The domestic users will have to pay some 68 per cent more on their monthly electricity bills based on the new tariff structure with effect from April, despite proposals and objections from a number of sectors . The unit price increases are in the range of Rs. 5 five to Rs. 34. In addition, the existing Fuel Adjustment Charge of 25 per cent on the monthly bill has been also been increased by 40 per cent.
The CEB, accused of serious mismanagement, wastage and corruption, has come under heavy criticism for the unprecedented increases in unit prices, with many alleging that the consumers are being forced to pay for bad management.
The Commission has directed a set of eight conditions prior to the next revision. However, the public would now have lost whatever faith in PUC promises and conditions laid down by it. They charged that it was the same Commission that said that the fuel adjustment charges would be scrapped after a 25 per cent charge was imposed in 2012.
UNP parliamentarian Dr Harsha de Silva speaking about the tariff hike said the fact that avenues for corruption in generating, transmitting and distributing electricity have not been addressed by the PUCSL, has been noted with serious concern, as there are no requirements to bring transparency in to the costs of the CEB. “Neither has the PUCSL addressed the issue of procurement of coal by a private company that is outside the remit of the regulator,” he pointed out, adding that it has not addressed the issue of renegotiating heat rates in some generating units, particularly Kerawalapitiya. “This means corruption will continue to flourish at the CEB,”